Unprecedented numbers of people are working from home around the world today. Increasingly, businesses are turning remote work into a long-term arrangement, which means people are building more elaborate and more expensive work-from-home setups for their home offices.
To get the most out of your home office, you might need to power up. Depending on your needs, the normal power circuit of your home may not be sufficient to safely and efficiently run all of your home office devices. Rather than stuffing as many extension cords as they can onto a single junction box, many homeowners opt to free up some power with a dedicated circuit: a single-appliance circuit that provides power only to their computer or another large appliance.
Let’s look at what a dedicated circuit can offer your home office. Read on for six potential benefits of giving your office computer its own circuit.
It helps protect your equipment and your work from power outages and surges.
If you’re like most employees who work from home, the electronic equipment in your home office is how you access your tools, your projects and your records. You need your devices available at all times, and you can’t take chances on whether a power surge or breaker trip will knock them out.
While having a robust backup for your files is certainly important, it’s better if you can prevent power fluctuations from reaching your devices in the first place. That’s a big part of why dedicated circuits are so useful. A dedicated home office circuit will help provide a stable and consistent source of power for your home office computer. (For optimal protection, use an uninterruptible power supply along with your dedicated circuit.)
You may need one if your home office has devices that draw large amounts of power.
Not everybody’s home office is just a laptop, a desk and some nice plants. Depending on what you do for a living, you might have devices that draw a large amount of power in your workspace, including:
- Server hardware
- 3D printers or other makerspace equipment
- Rendering farms for video or animation
- Large screen monitors or TVs
- Professional sound equipment
- Mini fridge
- Air conditioning unit
Any of these items can cause power fluctuations on a circuit not carrying enough amps, so be aware of the daily power draw requirements of any equipment you use in your workspace. Communicate these requirements to your electrical contractor when you’re discussing the possibility of adding a circuit for your home office.
It helps reduce the circuit overloading that can lead to electrical fires.
Overloaded circuits are never good news. If your home office equipment regularly trips your circuit breaker, or you notice problems like dimming or flickering lights, you might have overloaded your home’s circuits. These are problems that can cause electrical fires, so they’re not issues you can afford to ignore.
These problems can be especially acute in older homes which often have wiring that hasn’t kept up with the times. You’ll still find some older houses with owners trying to power an entire houseful of devices on 60-amp circuits, which is a bad idea even with only the normal modern package of appliances and electronics. Add the electricity needs of a sophisticated computer onto that and you might be in trouble.
It can help reduce the electrical noise from shared circuits.
The more electrical and electronic devices your computer shares a circuit with, the more likely it is to experience electrical “noise” from these other devices. This unwanted interference can cause problems with your computer’s signal and connections, including audiovisual malfunctions, dropped data connections and other highly undesirable phenomena.
One solution to this is to make sure your computer isn’t sharing circuits with other devices, which is where your dedicated circuit comes in. As a bonus, adding a dedicated circuit can also help improve the reliability of and reduce the noise generated in other devices on the circuit.
It’s a good home selling point for other remote office workers.
When and if you sell your home, there’s a good chance it might be to someone else who’s looking for a great place to set up a home office. If so, a dedicated power circuit for the home office is a fantastic feature to play up in your home’s marketing. It’s the perfect touch for giving a prospective buyer the impression your home really does have everything.
Will it necessarily increase your home’s monetary value? Maybe or maybe not—it’s always hard to predict exactly what additions will produce the most financial ROI for your home. But it’s certainly a feature that will appeal to many buyers who are looking for a house well-equipped for telecommuting.
It’s a perfect opportunity for a general upgrade of your home office’s wiring.
Folks who are setting up a full-time home office will often have multiple electrical upgrades made at once. If you’ll be hiring an electrician anyway to add outlets or new lighting, consider whether it might be a good opportunity to give your home office a general power upgrade by adding a dedicated circuit.
You’ll be able to customize both the power specs of your circuit and its location, giving you excellent control over exactly how you want your home office set up. It also makes it easy to add any kinds of features you want on the outlet for your dedicated circuit, such as a GFCI, childproof cover or NEMA 12 enclosure.
Getting your home office set up just the way you want it is an investment in yourself, your home and your career. For many folks, a dedicated circuit for your computer is part of this investment, and it’s one they find pays for itself many times over.
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